Black Bear vs Brown Bear: Difference and Comparison

Bears are a very peculiar species of mammals, and although a bear might not look intimidating, it can be violent sometimes. Naturally, bears are omnivores and have a habit of attacking Humans when they feel threatened by their presence.

Among the various types of Bears, Brown bears and black bears must be mentioned.

Key Takeaways

  1. Black bears have smaller bodies, shorter claws, and a straight facial profile than brown bears.
  2. Brown bears display various color variations, from light blonde to dark brown, while black bears primarily have black or cinnamon-colored fur.
  3. Brown bears inhabit diverse habitats, including tundras and mountainous areas, whereas black bears predominantly reside in forests.

Black Bear vs Brown Bear

The difference between black and brown bears is that, sometimes, black bears can also be shades of brown, and similarly, some brown bears can be very dark brown which might even appear black. Thus differentiating both the species just through eyes can often be deceiving to the common eye.

Black Bear Vs Brown Bear

Black bears are majorly found in the Northern Hemisphere, the American subcontinent.  They are mostly active in the absence of the sun, that is, before sunrise and after sunset.


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During birth, they weigh more than a pound. Black bears have a life span of about 20-25 years. Black bears have an excellent sense of smell.

Brown bears are also found in the Northern hemispheric countries like U.S., Europe, and some Asian countries.

Brown bears go to hibernation for 5 – 6 months every year, and they drop a lot of their body weight during the hibernation period. Brown bears are often found in grasslands and coastlands.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonBlack BearBrown Bear
Scientific Name
The scientific name of the black bear is Ursus americanus.The scientific name of the brown bear is Ursus arctos.
WeightBlack bears can range in weight between 150-300 kg.Brown bears can range in weight between 250kg to 400kg.
HeightAverage height of black bears ranges from 3 feet to 7 feet.The average height of Brown bears ranges from 5 feet to 10 feet.
Alteration of the bodyThey drop around 30% of their body weight during torpor.They can lose up to 40% of their body weight during hibernation.
Mode of regulating HypothermiaBlack bears can have daily torpors or hibernate.Brown bears hibernate for about 5 to 6 months.

What is a Black Bear?

The scientific name of the black bear is Ursus americanus. Black Bears are omnivorous mammals.

They are the shortest bear species to be existing in North America.

They have the ability to climb trees as they have shorter nails, and the length of the nail is 1 inch.

Black bears can have a state of torpor. Torpors are the state of the daily hibernation period where the body regulates hunger and temperature.

Torpors can be short-term, like daily torpor, or they can be long-term ( hibernation). The average weight of black bears is around 150-300 kgs.

Some black bears are found in shades of brown. Black Bears are built short, as they live in a habitat where they need to climb trees and remove logs and bushes.

The height of black bears ranges from 5 feet to 8 feet. A black bear nurses its cub for about 18 months.

Their claws are non-retractable, and the print is below the inside toe; it’s a black bear. Black bears’ ears stick straight up, and have a straight “Roman nose” facial profile.

The height of black bears can be anywhere ranging from more than 3 feet to 7 feet.

black bear

What is a Brown Bear?

The scientific name of the Brown bear is Ursus arctos. Brown bears are also Omnivorous animals, and they hibernate for 5 to 7 months.

During this time, their body temperates drop, and their hunger is reduced. Black bears’ average has weight range of about 250kg to 400kg.

However, their size can fluctuate during and after the hibernation period. Brown Bears can spend up to 14 hours per day hunting for food.

Brown bears are often confused with Grizzly Bears. Although they are of the same species, recently, grizzly bears are considered subspecies.

Brown bears are very often in the coastal regions of Alaska, near grasslands and salmon-filled streams. They have long nails of about 2-3 inches.

They have long nails due to their habitat of digging holes in the ground. They have a hump on their shoulder due to their habit of digging burrows, which helps them to dig.

Brown bears do not eat humans, but however, if they feel threatened or feel invaded by their territory by human presence, they will attack violently.

brown bear

Main Differences Between Black Bear and Brown Bear

  1. Both bears are different species. The scientific name of the black bear species is Ursus americanus, and that brown bear is Ursus arctos.
  2. Black bears have straight and short claws due to their adaptation to climbing trees, whereas brown bears have Long and curvy claws for digging the ground.
  3. Black bears go into torpor, whereas Brown bears go into Hibernation. Torpor is short and daily hibernation periods for a very short term, and hibernation is for the long term, for months.
  4. The average height of black bears ranges from 3 feet to 7 feet, and the Average height of Brown bears ranges from 5 feet to 10 feet.
  5. The general weight range of Black is between 150-300 kg, while that of Brown bears is 250kg to 400kg.
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